Injuries at Home Can Still be Covered by Workers’ Compensation

Attorney Blog

Injuries at HomeEveryone knows that many jobs do not fall into the “9-5” category. Our firm successfully represented a police officer who suffered a work related injury in his own garage. We were able to show that even though the officer was not at the police station or on patrol at the time of the accident, his injuries at home were a result of his employment and was covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Injured workers must show that the accident they suffered “arose out of” and was “in the course of” their employment.  For an injury to “arise out of” employment, its origins must be in some risk connected with or incidental to the employment.  For an injury to be “in the course of” employment, it must occur within a period of employment, at a place where workers may reasonably be in the performance of their duties, and while they are fulfilling those duties or engaged in something incidental to those duties.  In short, “in the course of” refers to the time, place, and circumstances of the injury.  In many situations, this burden is not difficult to prove.

At other times, however, the circumstances of the accident are more complex.  This was the case for the injured police officer. The officer maintained a duty bag as party of his job. The office kept his helmet, gas masks, legal codes, ammunition, handcuffs, firearm, metal baton, and a flashlight in the duty bag.  This bag weighed approximately 40 pounds.  The officer kept the bag with him at all times for safekeeping.  He would keep the bag in his garage when he was not on duty.  The department allowed all officers to keep their duty bag with them when they were not on duty.

To prepare for his shift, the officer would move the duty bag from his garage to his personal vehicle, drive to the police station, and then transfer the bag to his squad car.  One morning, as the officer was lifting the bag from his garage’s floor into the trunk of his car, he felt a pop in his lower back and experienced immediate, excruciating pain.  The officer had to crawl from his garage into his home.  He saw an orthopedic doctor the next day and underwent spine surgery just two days after the accident.

The workers’ compensation carrier for the officer’s department denied all benefits. The carrier claimed that since the injury happened at home, the officer was not entitled to benefits. We were able to show that the incident of lifting the duty bag, even though it happened at home, was an accident that arouse out of and in the course of the officer’s employment and that this accident was the reason he needed surgery.  Even though the officer was at home when the injury occurred, the court decided that when the officer lifted the duty bag in his own garage he was fulfilling his job duties and was performing an activity the department could reasonably expect him to be doing.  The court added that because the officer could be needed at any time, it benefitted the department for the officer to keep the duty bag with him at home and transport it to work each day.  These arguments persuaded the court to award workers’ compensation benefits to the officer.

As in the case described above, there are various unique situations that result in work-related accidents that are covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.  It is important to talk to an attorney with knowledge and experience in workers’ compensation in order to ensure that all benefits an injured worker is entitled to are recovered.

More Blogs of Interest:

PEDA for Injured Police Officers

$4.7M Jury Verdict for Injured Firefighter

If you are an injured first responder or a family member of one that has suffered serious injury, know your rights. Call (630) 585-2320 so that we may help protect these very important rights and protections.


I just wanted to let you and your office know how pleased I was with your handling of my case!

Dear Russell, I just wanted to let you and your office know how pleased I was with your handling of my case. The promptness in which you handled this matter and the professionalism you showed while doing so was greatly appreciated. Should there arise another time in which I need assistance or should an acquaintance […]

M. Wright

Attorney Dexter Evans Was Always Available to Answer Any Concerns I Had.

D.J. was always available to answer any concerns I had. The entire case was handled professionally. I am completely satisfied with entire staff at Woodruff Johnson & Evans that I encountered.

John N.

Attorney Jay Johnson went above and beyond!

Attorney Jay Johnson went above and beyond. He made everything so easy and was always available for any questions I needed to ask. I highly recommend Woodruff Johnson & Evans!

Chad M.

Attorney Russell Haugen was awesome!

Attorney Russell Haugen was awesome at handling my case and very communicative on a lot of information I needed help with as well. He also took out the time to make sure I was handled with great provision! Thanks

Jashaunti P.

Russ Haugen and Woodruff Johnson & Evans Have Been My Attorneys For a Couple Different Cases.

Russ (and his firm Woodruff Johnson & Evans) has been my attorney during  a couple different cases. I have been extremely pleased with Russ’ work. He answers calls and always follows up even if there has been no movement on your case. I believe he’s personable and he gets to know his clients and going […]

Teresa D.

Attorney Leandro Alhambra Was Very Responsive to Adressing My Concerns. I Didn’t Have to Worry About Anything

I was so impressed by Lee’s responsiveness during such a long and potentially confusing process. I never had to worry about anything during the entire case.

Torianna L.

Thank You Mr. Jay Johnson and May God Bless You.

Thank you so much, Mr. Jay Johnson! I was very pleased with your service. If I need legal help in the future, I will call on you again. If I know of someone who needs legal help, I will give them your number. Thank You and May God Bless You.

Carolyn G.

When Russell Haugen took my case, I never had to follow-up as he ensured that I was always updated on the status.

It was a very long process for me as I started my case with one of their former colleagues then it was assigned to Russell Haugen, who worked diligently to finalize the case. From the beginning, he took the necessary time to clearly explain the position of the case, the potential timing of all the […]

Beverly F

Great Team of Lawyers

Attorney Dexter Evans is a part of a great team of lawyers and staff at Woodruff Johnson & Evans. They really get the job done. Excellent communication and great outcomes. I definitely recommend them for any injury cases anyone may have.

Travion H

From day one, Russell Haugen and Woodruff Johnson & Evans handled the work comp case with empathy and diligence. Highly recommended.

I would definitely recommend Woodruff Johnson & Evans to anyone I know that need legal help with a worker’s comp issue. From day one I’ve felt comfortable and was always kept informed on what was going on with my case. Mr. Haugen was always pleasant and empathetic to my case and worked diligently. I would […]

Shelia W
View All Testimonials

Get Your Free Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.